Archive for the Category: Language

Bants

Today I came across word that’s new to me – bants – which, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, means: Playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter. It’s also written bantz, and is an abbreviation of banter, a word of unknown origin which first appeared in writing in 1676 in a […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Top 100 Language Learning Blogs

This blog has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs – a list which includes links to other language-related blogs that might interest you. Many thanks to those who chose this blog.

Also posted in General 1 Comment

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 5 Comments

Neither fur nor feather

Today I came across an interesting Russian idiom in the book I’m reading (Moon Seed, by Stephen Baxter): Ни пуха, ни пера (Ni púkha, ni perá). It means literally “neither fur nor feather” and is used to wish someone good luck. The phrase was originally used by Russian hunters in a sarcastic/ironic way. The feathers […]

Also posted in English, German, Hebrew, Russian, Words and phrases, Yiddish Leave a comment

Trumped

For some reason I thought I’d look into the word trump today. It has a number of meanings: 1. trump (noun): the suit, in a game of cards, that outranks all others; a playing card of that suit; something that gives one an advantage, especially one held in reserve. Etymology From triumph, from the French […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek, Latin, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 8 Comments

Romance and Horses

What does romance have to do with horses? Well, the word romance has a number of meanings: – A story relating to chivalry; a story involving knights, heroes, adventures, quests, etc. – An intimate relationship between two people; a love affair. – A strong obsession or attachment for something or someone. – Idealized love which […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Latin, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Gorillas, monkeys and ponys

With a title like that, you might be expecting a post about animals, but in fact it’s about slang terms for money – a gorilla is £1,000, a monkey is £500 and a pony is £25. These names apparently come from old Indian banknotes and coins: the 25 Rupee coin had a pony on it, […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Within walking distance

This weekend I went to a friend’s wedding near Milton Keynes, and stayed in an AirBnB in Bletchley on Saturday night. In my review of the AirBnB I said that it was “within walking distance” of the centre of Bletchley. After writing this, I started thinking that the phrase walking distance probably means quite different […]

Also posted in English, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 3 Comments
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